Cop allegedly assaulted by Malema, Ndlozi 'acted correctly', colleague says
A senior police official said on Tuesday that his colleague, Col Johannes Venter, was justified when he confronted EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela.
Col James Bronkhorst told the Randburg magistrate's court on Tuesday that he and another officer were informed of the incident while they were at the operational centre.
Bronkhorst is with the protection services unit of the SAPS.
Malema and Ndlozi each face a charge of common assault for an incident at the funeral in 2018. They have pleaded not guilty to the assault charge, which they claim is part of a political agenda.
AfriForum has pushed for their prosecution.
On March 9 2021, EFF leader Julius Malema and MP Mbuyiseni Ndlozi appeared in the Randburg magistrate's court to continue their trial for the alleged assault of police officer Lt-Col Johannes Jacobus Venter. The incident took place at the funeral of Winnie Madikizela-Mandela in 2018.
Bronkhorst told the court during his testimony: “We were informed of the incident that happened at the main entrance. We were also informed the situation was being handled.”
He said he was told the incident involved one of their members.
“He was involved in an altercation with Malema and his convoy. The first thing we did was to report the information [to their superior officer],” he said.
He said Deon Klingbiel, a former operational manager at the Fourways Memorial Park, informed him that he had video footage of the incident.
“We arranged to go to him to get a copy of the video footage. It was just after 6pm when we went to Klingbiel's office. He then said one of the cameras doesn't show the incident clearly. I asked about the other camera footage. He played it for us.
“I asked to get a copy of the footage of before and after the incident,” said Bronkhorst.
He said he told Klingbiel to keep the footage safe until an investigating officer asked for it.
“Based on the information we got, and I can say that with the years of experience in major events planning, Venter acted correctly,” Bronkhorst said.
Venter had earlier testified that the vehicle Ndlozi and Malema travelled in did not have a visible permit to enter the cemetery.
He said officers were instructed to only allow immediate family members and the president to access the cemetery. He said they were told the rest of the mourners would remain at the stadium, where funeral proceedings would be streamed via satellite TV.
Malema and Ndlozi's lawyer, Laurence Hodes SC, told Bronkhorst that Malema was a VIP as he was one of the speakers at Madikizela-Mandela's funeral.
“There was a procession to the cemetery and all the roads that were used were closed to the public,” Hodes said to Bronkhorst. He told Bronkhorst that the vehicle Malema was travelling in was parked at the basement of the stadium where the rest of the dignitaries were parked.
“It was security-cleared to the extent that it went to the basement with the rest of the family,” said Hodes.
Bronkhorst said he would agree that Malema was part of the VIP if his car had gone through security checks that the police had done.
The trial continues.